European Muslims feel ‘isolated’

Gallup poll says lack of access to education and jobs reinforcing a sense of ostracism.

In Britain only 10 per cent of Muslims saw themselves as integrated [GALLO/GETTY]

Dalia Mogahed, the executive director of the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies and co-author of a report based on the findings, said: “This research shows that many of the assumptions about Muslims and integration are wide of the mark.

“European Muslims want to be part of the wider community and contribute even more to society.”

Immigration factor

The survey, described by the pollster as the first of its kind, polled at least 500 Muslims in each of 27 countries in June and July of last year to generate its findings on European Muslim integration.

Nearly half of French Muslims said they felt integrated [GALLO/GETTY]

At least 1,000 members of the general public in each country were also randomly surveyed to create comparisons on specific issues.

It found 38 per cent of Muslims in Germany, 35 per cent of those in the UK and 29 per cent of those in France were found to be “isolated” in their countries,

That figure stood at just 15 per cent in the US and 20 per cent in Canada.

Mogahed said: “This can be explained by the historical importance of immigration in the development of Canada and the United States as modern nations.”

She said she believed better access to higher education and work in North America had helped over decades to create more integration and social advancement. 

Origin countries

One of the starkest findings of the surveys was the gap in perception between European Muslims and the general public.

While nearly half of French Muslims, 46 per cent, said they felt integrated, only 22 per cent of the French public said they felt the same about the Muslims living in their country.

In Germany, 35 per cent of Muslims saw themselves as integrated, but the broader public put it at 13 per cent.

In Britain, while 20 per cent of the public thought Muslims were integrated, only 10 per cent of Muslims thought they were.

Mogahed and co-author Mohamed Younis said the findings showed how hard it was to draw broad conclusions about Muslim integration across Europe or develop policy as a result.

They suggested that country of origin – many Muslims in France are originally from North Africa, many in Germany are originally from Turkey, and in Britain from Pakistan or Bangladesh – affected integration and, or, its perception.

Moral issues

This appeared to be the case when the surveys examined the importance of certain moral issues to Muslims and compared it to the general public in each country.

In France, 78 per cent of the public said homosexual acts were “morally acceptable”, while 35 per cent of Muslims agreed.

In Germany, the ratio was 68 per cent of the public and 19 per cent of Muslims.

In Britain, it was 58 per cent to zero. The margin of error was five percentage points in all cases.

Since 9/11 ‘mistrust toward European Muslims has become palpable’ [GALLO/GETTY]

Similar dissonance was found on issues such as viewing pornography, extramarital sex, suicide and the death penalty.

The authors suggested that a combination of more rigid views and religious practices by Muslims in certain countries had contributed to a misperception about their degree of integration, even while those Muslims were keen to integrate.

“Since 9/11 and the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London, mistrust toward European Muslims has become palpable,” the authors said.

“Significant segments of European societies openly express doubt that Muslim fellow nationals are loyal citizens.

“The integration debate has to widen its frame, moving beyond the confines of security and religion, and focus more on the socioeconomic struggles of citizens of all faiths,” they said.

Source: News Agencies